Monday, June 18, 2012

Remembering Richard Boone

Richard Allen Boone was born on June 18, 1917 in Los Angeles, California. A direct descendent of pioneer Daniel Boone, the rough-hewn American leading man Richard Boone was thrust into the cold cruel world when he was expelled from Stanford University, for a minor infraction. He found work as an oil-field laborer, boxer, painter and free-lance writer before settling upon acting as a profession. After serving in World War II, Boone used his GI Bill to finance his theatrical training at the Actors' Studio, making his belated Broadway debut at age 31, playing Jason in Judith Anderson's production of “Medea”.

Signed to a 20th Century-Fox contract in 1951, Boone was given good billing in his first feature, Halls of Montezuma; among his Fox assignments was the brief but telling role of Pontius Pilate in “The Robe” (1953). Boone launched the TV-star phase of his career in the weekly semi-anthology “Medic”, playing Dr. Konrad Steiner. From 1957 through 1963, Boone portrayed Paladin, erudite western soldier of fortune, on the popular western series “Have Gun, Will Travel” and directed several episodes of this series. Boone tackled a daring TV assignment in 1963, when in collaboration with playwright Clifford Odets, he appeared in the TV anthology series “The Richard Boone Show”. Unique among filmed dramatic programs, Boone's series featured a cast of eleven regulars (including Harry Morgan, Robert Blake, Jeanette Nolan, Bethel Leslie and Boone himself), who appeared in repertory, essaying different parts of varying sizes each week. ”The Richard Boone Show” failed to catch on, and Boone went back to films.

Boone then appeared in two Euro-westerns “Madron” (1970) and “God’s Gun” (1976). In 1972 he starred in another TV western series, this one produced by his old friend Jack Webb: “Hec Ramsey”, the saga of an old-fashioned sheriff coping with an increasingly industrialized West.

In the last year of his life, Boone was appointed Florida's cultural ambassador. Richard Boone died at age 65 of throat cancer on January 10, 1981 in St. Augustine, Florida. Today we remember Richard Boone on what would have been his 95th birthday.


  1. Fabulous actor that was never really given his due. He could, and did, upstage everyone with whom he played a scene. The Richard Boone Show should have been a great success story, but seemed to be held down from the start, so he never got all the kudos he deserved. It did win some awards, though. There was nobody, absolutely nobody, that came close to him as he portrayed Paladin. He was powerful and intriguing...and you can't take your eyes off him. Wish he had paid more attention to his health, and we could have had him around for many more years than we did.

  2. In "God's Gun" Richard Boone was poorly dubbed. He sounded like a man from Brooklyn if he stayed up all night. Other than that it was a great film. I've actually been to St. Augustine, Florida but they never really mention the impact that Boone had on the town. Oh well. The city only knows so much about itself. I could be wrong but the last time I was there NOBODY mentioned Richard Boone ever having been there. But there ARE folks who are still alive today that remember him being there so I guess there's that. RIP Paladin. You had your gun and you DID travel. Magnificent.